BOONVILLE, MO – Local accountant Fred Baskin just returned from a trip to Europe, and he was shocked that he actually enjoyed visiting a country outside of the United States.
Baskin’s daughter, Hailey, is currently spending a year studying in Bern, Switzerland, as part of a student exchange program. “Hailey isn’t coming home until next summer, so the only way for me to see her is to hop on a plane and fly across the pond,” explains Fred. “I even had to get a passport.”
None of Baskin’s family members have ever traveled outside of the United States until Hailey signed up for this exchange program. “I still don’t understand why she wanted to do this exchange program. No other country has nicer scenery, food, or people than the good ‘ol USA. There’s no reason to travel anywhere outside this country. Or heck, no other state even beats Missouri!”
However, Fred Baskin’s social media posts during and after his trip tell another story. He shared a video atop a mountain in the Swiss Alps with the sound of cowbells and birds chirping in the distance. In the video, you can hear him tell his wife Shirley, “This is amazing! The views, the air, everything! What took us so long to get here?”
The next day, Baskin posted a selfie in a local hospital with the following caption: “I cut my knee while hiking yesterday. Had to get stitches. Thank the good Lord that getting this medical care in Switzerland cost me almost nothing!” Like many Americans, Baskin said he thought it was normal to pay thousands of dollars for a relatively minor injury, or drive oneself to the emergency room with a massive head wound to avoid the ambulance charge.
At the McDonald’s in Zurich, Baskin assumed he would need to employ the same technique he uses to communicate with his lawn service, speaking very slowly and loudly. To his amazement, the locals could speak several languages easily. “They would be talking to one customer in German, but seemed to recognize me as an American right away and I had no trouble talking to them!”, Baskin reported.
In a recent Instagram story, Fred posted a video walk-through of the train from Zurich to Bern. “I can’t get over the public transportation here. Trains are clean, on time, and actually go to places you need to go!” Baskin said he is now forced to reconsider the need for using his massive two-ton dually truck for the 5-minute trip to the grocery store for milk.
After spending time with their daughter, the Baskins returned home with a suitcase full of Swiss chocolate and cowbells for their Christmas tree. When neighbors asked them about their experience, the Baskins maintain that the USA is still #1 in most things.
Fred explains, “No country can compete with the USA when it comes to football, sweet tea, fried food, hot sauce and pickup trucks. But Switzerland has some good things going for it in other areas. But to be sure, it warrants a second trip. Next semester, we’re planning another trip to see Hailey, but this time with a stopover in Paris to remind them how we saved their butts in World War II. And maybe a short weekend in Rome. Ya know, just to make sure the USA is still better.”